The Arizona Democratic Party has voted to formally censure Senator Kyrsten Sinema “as a result of her failure to do whatever it takes to ensure the health of our democracy,” the party said Saturday. The announcement came just days after Sinema opposed a change to the Senate rules that could have moved Democratic-backed voting rights legislation forward.
“I want to be clear, the Arizona Democratic Party is a diverse coalition with plenty of room for policy disagreements, however on the matter of the filibuster and the urgency to protect voting rights, we have been crystal clear,” Arizona Democratic Party chairperson Raquel Terán said in a statement. “In the choice between an archaic legislative norm and protecting Arizonans’ right to vote, we choose the latter, and we always will.”
On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer initiated a vote on a rules change that would have allowed Democrats to pass the voting rights legislation with a simple majority of votes. However, Republicans opposed the move, as did Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Sinema.
Sinema defended her vote, saying on Thursday that she maintained her “longstanding opposition to separate actions that would deepen our divisions and risk repeated radical reversals in federal policy, cementing uncertainty and further eroding confidence in our government.”
“Tonight’s votes must not be the end of our work to protect our democracy,” Sinema said in a statement. “That goal requires all Americans everywhere to unite around sustained strategies in support of free, fair, and open elections in which every vote is fairly counted.”
But President Joe Biden said he was “profoundly disappointed” in the outcome of the vote, and Vice President Kamala Harris said “Senators voted to preserve an arcane Senate procedure rather than secure that fundamental freedom.” Senator Bernie Sanders said the two senators have “forced us to go through five months of discussions which have gotten absolutely nowhere.”
Sinema’s press secretary Hannah Hurley issued a statement after Saturday’s censure.
“During three terms in the U.S. House, and now in the Senate, Kyrsten has always promised Arizonans she would be an independent voice for the state — not for either political party,” it read. “She’s delivered for Arizonans and has always been honest about where she stands.”
Jack Turman and Melissa Quinn contributed reporting.